Nichols, NY — Live harness racing will come to both Tioga and Vernon Downs the beginning of June with qualifiers the first week and live racing the next.
Following the orders of Governor Cuomo, racing will get underway on the first day permitted with qualifying races held at Tioga on Monday (June 1) and again on Wednesday (June 3). At Vernon qualifiers will be on Tuesday (June 2) and Friday (June 5).
Live racing will kick off on Sunday (June 7) at Tioga and follow a Sunday-Monday schedule with a post time of 4 p.m. for all cards throughout the month of June with no live crowd and only remote wagering.
The first stakes to be raced at Tioga will be the NYSS 3-year-old colt pace, Roll With Joe Open Pace and a Graduate Series. All will remain on the originally scheduled date of Sunday (June 14).
Vernon will race on Wednesday (June 10) and Thursday (June 11) at 4 p.m. continuing that schedule and the no live attendance policy for the month as well. New York Sires Stakes will be raced at Vernon and we will post that schedule as soon as it becomes available.
With the large number of horses that we expect to enter qualifiers this week we ask that if your horse is currently qualified to race that you do not enter that horse to qualify.
Entries for the qualifiers will close at 10 a.m. the previous day. The qualifying overnight sheet will instruct horse people where each horse will be stabled/held until they race either in the paddock or designated area for ship-ins.
Pertinent information on protocol the state will require to participate at both tracks will be made available on the track websites in the “Horsemen” section. Please read and become familiar with the details and come prepared to follow the conditions as written.
All persons entering the property at both tracks will be required to fill out a questionnaire and submit to a temperature check before entering the stable gate and if deemed a risk will be turned away. Once on the grounds you are required to wear face coverings at all times and gloves when practical, maintain social distancing, keep to a minimum number of people in the paddock and minimal contact with others while on the grounds.
Only those horses ages three and up that are stabled on the grounds (including local farms designated by management) at each track or eligible to the NYSS will be accepted to qualify and race at Tioga and Vernon for the time being. Two-year-olds will be accepted for week two of qualifiers.
Horses shipping in will be required to stable in the designated area and leave the grounds as soon as possible after qualifying or racing.
Please keep the warming up to a minimum and keep a distance from others when on the track both warming up and scoring.
Catch-drivers will have no contact with the handlers of the horses and will wait in their car in a designated parking area with no contact among themselves. They will pick up their mounts on the way to the track. Trainers that drive their own horses and have been working in the stables may participate in the preparation of the horses.
It is strongly recommended that you sign up for Meadowlands, Tioga and Vernon mass text service as a lot of important information will be disseminated via text. To sign up, text the word “MEADOWLANDS” to the number 84700 on your mobile device. You may be required to respond “YES” if you receive a request for response.
We need everyone to adhere to protocol exactly as required by the state. It is imperative that we do everything they ask to the very best of our ability so that we may continue to race. Enduring this temporary inconvenience is what must be done to get back to what we need to do and eventual easing of these restrictions.
For all of the latest news on the resumption of racing, visit the USTA COVID-19 Resource Center.